Tag Archives: teen librarian

Drop In and Hang Out: Artist Trading Cards

 

A super easy passive/sneak program for teens

Here’s a real lazy days passive program for you: artist trading cards. We’ve done this program both as a scheduled program and as a passive program before, and it’s pretty durn easy.

 

The first thing you need to do is make or procure some blank cards. You have a lot of options for this! You can pick up a pack of blank business cards, purchase a pack of blank playing cards, or even just cut up some cardstock into playing card-sized rectangles. This particular program was inspired by my scrounging around in our passive program supplies and turning up a couple of packs of Scratch-art trading cards we bought for a scratch art program almost a year ago. I whipped up a quick sign, put out two little containers (one for new cards and one for arted-up cards, and BOOM.

If you haven’t heard of artist trading cards, I’ll be a bad librarian and point you over to Wikipedia for the history of the medium. Essentially, they’re a cool way to share art and challenge yourself to make your art on a tiny scale.

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Drop In and Hang Out: Stress S.O.S. Kits

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It’s beginning to look a lot like finals time. The teens in my library are, on the whole, pretty academically motivated. They’re much more likely to be hanging out in the teen area doing homework than just hanging out. So, finals and midterms tend to really stress them out – they want to do a good job! I thought it would be nice to put together some stress relief kits for them.

Here’s what each kit contained:
Mini Hershey chocolate bar
Small piece of bubble wrap
Coloring bookmark
Bag of caffeine-free tea
Card of stress relief tips

I threw all this in a snack-sized baggie.  I also printed some little labels using label paper we had on hand to seal up each bag.

I swiped the bubble wrap from the ILL desk, printed the bookmark and stress relief tips, and threw in some tea I had at my desk. All I had to buy was the Hershey bars, which were about $5 for a family-sized bag. Hopefully they won’t be torn apart for the candy bars too quickly and hopefully they will help some teens feel better.

Fan Club: The Hunger Games

may the odds

What We Did:

I must admit that this is one of our last weekly programs that I actually had much to do with. As our Youth Services Tech Courtney settles into her new position, I’m transitioning a lot of our regular teen programs over to her. I’m focusing more on long-term planning, the volunteer program, programs for tweens, special programs, and collection development.

Anyway, I think Hunger Games was my idea, but she really ran with it and it was great! We made paper rose pins and pencil arrows. To make the paper flowers, Courtney made a template of three different sized flowers. The teens traced the template three times each, then cut out the flowers. You staple the flowers in the middle, and then just scrunch up the petals for a 3D effect. Finally, we dipped the edges of the petals in red paint, to give it an extra President Snow feel. Teens could then attach a sticky bar pin to the back, so they could wear it.

For the arrows, Courtney was originally inspired by a post she saw that involved gluing feathers to pencils. We tried it, and it’s super hard to glue feathers to pencils, guys! We ended up using duct tape, which was much easier and actually allowed for so many more colors. You just wrap the duct tape around the pencil’s end, making little flaps in several places by sticking together part of the duct tape. Then, you cut the flaps into a feather shape, and voila! If you have teens who are particularly crafty or bored, they can also make a little mini-quiver from duct tape.

 

What We Bought:

$5 for a pack of plain colored pencils for the arrows

That’s it! We had everything else on hand!

How It Went:

I made a playlist of Hunger Games parodies, interviews, and fan interviews, and we hung out for a while with some teens!  As usual, the teens actually care less about the crafts than they do about hanging out. It was a fun program, and I’m glad we kept it pretty low-key. I think either of these crafts would actually work really well as a passive program, too!

Anime Club: Terrariums

What I Did:

This Anime Club is an example of how if you don’t plan ahead and buy supplies before the day of your program, you might run into a snag! But it’s also an example of how everything will be fine anyway. So, my program started, as nearly all my programs do, with an idea I saw on Pinterest (are you noticing this theme? It’s because it’s so easy for my visual self to scroll through Pinterest and find things that sound fun!) I saw this great spice bottle terrarium craft at The Art of Making, and I thought, that sounds cool! I figured we could watch The Secret World of Arrietty, because it’s all about tiny things.

So, I set out for the store to get some spice bottles, but on the way, I passed a thrift store. I am constitutionally unable to actually pass a thrift store, and while I was in there, I noticed all manner of cute glass containers. I figured it’s cool to use recycled  materials when I can, and if I got little containers from the thrift, everyone could have something unique! so, I bought about a dozen vases, former candle containers, and glasses, and I was set (also I bought some adorable new dresses, but that’s beside the point).

I had some potting soil on hand at home that I was willing to donate, and we had plenty of sand, rocks, and glass stones left over from previous programs that I was happy to leave out. All I needed now were some adorable succulents, right? So out I head to Lowe’s. Except did you know that succulents are really expensive, and that if you shop for them in September the selection stinks! I DO NOW! So I just looked around and ended up picking some other plants.

What I Bought:

$12 for fifteen glass containers at Goodwill (color of the week for the win!)
$6 for twelve fuzzy looking plants
$12 for twelve spikey colorful looking plants (sorry that’s not more specific. I have a black thumb, and am not really up on my plant IDs)
Potting soil on hand
Glass beads on hand

So, total outlay for this program was about $30 for enough supplies for fifteen kids, which works out to about $2 per teen. If you planned ahead, I think you could put out the call for donations and scrounge up the glass containers for free. I think most people have some random vases or pickle jars around that they would be happy to unload on ya.

How It Went:

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This teen has decided that she’s going to pose like that every week for our Anime Club recaps. EPIC.

The root balls for the plants I chose ended up being a little too large for some of the containers, and nobody made Pinterest-worthy art. But I think the teens who don’t get to do outside stuff much appreciated learning what the roots of the plants are (geez, it makes me sad to type that) and everybody was excited to take something home. I’m 100% sure these plants will all be dead within six weeks, but hey, you win some, you lose some.

I had fifteen teens at this Anime Club, what what! We’ve got a couple of middle schoolers who have been coming and told their friends to come, and some older teens who have become regulars who also showed up. It’s so hard to know how much to buy for Anime Club, because sometimes I have two teens, and sometimes I have a dozen! We ran out of glass containers because at about halfway through the hour, I let some early comers make an extra terrarium. Of course, that meant five more teens came in right then and we ran out. Oh well! Everyone seemed to have fun, although I had to shut down a couple of inappropriate jokes from one of the younger teens. I know that’s one of the reasons that teen programming is so important, though – having a place to hang out outside of school that is semi-structured is a big deal and definitely meeting their developmental needs.

Anime Club: Pancake Sushi

What I Did:

Like many of my programs, this one was born on Pinterest. I saw this sweet pin of waffle sushi, and I definitely thought it was something that sounded fun (and delicious!) Even though I have a solid budget for teen programming, though, I just couldn’t justify buying a pizzelle maker that we would probably only use once. I can think of a hundred uses for an electric skillet, though, so I figured we could just use pancakes instead of waffles and it would still be delicious!

What I Bought:

$20 electric skillet
$4 for two containers of whipped cream cheese – one plain and one berry
$2 for complete pancake mix (generic, yo!)
$1 for a spatula (you might already have one of these on hand if you do cooking programs a lot!)
$2 for some syrup
$2 for a container of strawberries
$2 for a bunch of bananas

Total, about $33 for supplies, with about two thirds of that going toward equipment (the skillet and the spatula) that we can use again and again. If you do cooking programs with your teens already, you might have these things on hand, which would make this a pretty darn cheap program.

How It Went:

IMG_2793 IMG_2794 Teen poses with awesome pancake sushi roll IMG_2797

This was my first Anime Club since school is back in session; we are on programming pause for August to give us time to recover. I was a little scared that not many teens would show up – what if my healthy summer numbers were just a fluke? What if the teens hated me? WHAT IF I’M A SMELLY LOSER?

Welp, apparently none of that is true. We had a nice crowd of about 10 teens, with a few newcomers and a good bunch of regulars. I had a teen help me measure out the mix and water (life skills!); we made sure to add a little more water than suggested to make a loose batter for better rolling. I set a teen with some knife skills to cutting the strawberries and bannanas into slices. I manned the skillet, and my flipping skills were put to the test. Some of the pancakes were more…beautiful…than others, but all were tasty. The teens had a lot of fun spreading the cream cheese on their pancakes and adding fruit. They also had a lot of fun mocking my flipping failures, but that’s life. Some teens ended up making more pancake taco, but hey, it’s still delicious in my book!

A Movie and a Make: Jupiter Ascending

 

Once I heard the abysmal reviews of Jupiter Ascending, I knew I wanted to watch it with our hilarious teens and hear their commentary.  When looking for a project to go with it, I initially wanted to do galaxy tshirts, like the ones found here. It wasn’t until I was making the supply list and realized how tricky it always is to estimate tshirt needs that I reconsidered. I always suggest teens bring their own shirts, but we have to have some on hand in case they don’t read the program description or can’t afford a shirt to bring or just forget. Blank tshirts are kind of expensive, yo! Plus if you over-estimate you’re stuck with shirts, and there’s the whole guessing what size shirt people want/can wear. TOO HARD!

I was trolling Pinterest and Google Images for other space-themed crafts that weren’t too baby-ish or easy, and I stumbled across this amazing DIY Galaxy Necklace tutorial at Oh the Lovely Things.

Here’s what I ended up buying:

2 packs of makeup sponges from the Dollar Tree ($2)
Nail polish in clear coat, navy blue, grey, white, hot pink, white, and lilac from the Dollar Tree ($7)
Two three packs of brass charms on clearance at Hobby Lobby ($3)
One ten pack of shell charms from Hobby Lobby ($3)

I have a ton of findings and cords left over programs people did before I got here, so I also pulled those out. Total expenditures: $15. I would have purchased more blanks for decorating, but historically, this program has had pretty low attendance, so I figured with the sixteen blanks and some other tiny blanks I had on hand, we’d be fine.

How’d it go?

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As the time for my program came and went, I had a sinking feeling I was going to have a goose egg program. Fortunately, one of my teens who was a new face at anime club last week showed up (YAY!), and then a couple more kids came in.

Jupiter Ascending is, in fact, a terrible movie. The teens were mocking it relentlessly, and it’s chock full of groan inducing dialogue. The galaxy charms worked really well as a movie craft because you need to wait a while between each coat of nail polish for it to dry, and the actual crafting doesn’t require a lot of fine detail work that would be hard in the dark. The teens did a much better job at making their galaxy charms than I did (mine just looked like I had spilled a lot of nail polish, oops!)

Overall, I’d say it’s a success! Even though I only had three teens at this program, I’m hopeful it might continue to grow? Maybe? Next month we’re watching Jurassic Park, so at least the movie will be awesome.

Drop In and Hang Out: Photography Apps

One of the things I wanted to avoid when I was mapping out program ideas for Drop In and Hang Out was a saturation of craft programs. Now, I love a craft program (LOVE LOVE LOVE), but I know that they’re certainly not up every teen’s alley. I wanted to make sure that teens knew that although we do make a lot of stuff in teen programs, we also do a lot of other things. So, I’m trying to change it up and do non-crafty things at least half the time.

Photographer

This week, I highlighted some free photography apps for iPhones and Androids. I made a quick little handout to put on the table (you can download it by clicking here if you’re interested; feel free to use it or modify it however you’d like), and created a quick sign in Canva encouraging teens to tag us on social media if they take pictures in the library. That’s it! I know lots of teens (and adults!) don’t really explore new apps very often – it seems like most people go crazy right when they get their phones and then don’t download much after that. I also know that lots of people don’t really have time to mess about looking for cool, free apps, and sometimes end up buying a program when there are cool alternatives out there. So, this is a stab at super low-pressure digital literacy. That works, right?